Thursday, December 04, 2014

A Little Help

As you all know, I have been working on a new book and in the course of that, I was looking at the November 3, 1957, sightings at White Sands Proving Grounds, now White Sands Missile Range. According to the information I have, one of the soldiers who saw the UFO (identified as the Moon by Project Blue Book investigators) was unavailable for the Air Force to interview a couple of days later. They were told that he was on a three-day pass. The story told by a reporter in the area in 1957 was that the man, James Wilbanks, had been put into the hospital.

In early August I sent a request to the Records Center in St. Louis, asking for the morning reports of his unit for the week of November 3 through 10. The morning reports should tell us if he was on his pass or in the hospital. After nearly four months, I received a form letter telling me how much the search would cost and that I couldn't ask for the morning reports for more than a 90 period. I am assuming that it will be another four months before I get a reply.

However, the Public Affairs Officer either at White Sands or Holloman Air Force Base had issued a press release about the soldiers and their involvement in the UFO sighting and might have addressed the problem of where Wilbanks was. I have tried to search on line for copies of the Alamogordo newspaper but the only records I can access go back to 1997 or there abouts.

I'm hoping that someone will be able to look at the newspaper files for November 1957 and find an article that talks about the soldiers from White Sands and what happened to them....

Oh, and I should mention that the White Sands Missile Range has been less than helpful. In the past they have been quite prompt in answering email, but after asking a bunch of irrelevant questions, they too have gone silent.

Anyway, I'm hoping that someone in that area can learn a little more from reviewing the microfilm from November 1957 and tell me what happened to Wilbanks. The tale of his three-day pass doesn't not hold water.


Jeff Miller said...

This probably won't help you, but this is all I could find. From the Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, Nov. 10:


Again, ill effects were reported, but White Sands says PFC James Wilbanks only had a slight cold.

"But I don't believe that story," says Terry Clark, new(s) director of KALG here.

"I called out there to find out what was wrong with him and before I told the officer which one I was inquiring about he said, 'Oh, no. That's impossible, he's on leave.'"

KRandle said...

Jeff -

Actually this helps quite a bit. confirms some of what Clark had reported in his 1957 article. Thanks.

cda said...


Isn't this the day at White Sanda when two sightings occurred and the USAF issued a press release saying the first was Venus and the second the moon?

I vaguely recall reading about it in one of Keyhoe's books.

Trouble is that the AF spokesman got the two explanations IN THE WRONG ORDER! I think it all stemmed from a press release of Nov. 15, but you can check me out.

KRandle said...


Within hours of the Levelland sightings, two soldiers at White Sands reported seeing a strange object which was eventually and incorrectly identified as the moon. Twelve or so hours later, two other soldiers on patrol reported a sighting that was incorrectly identified as Venus.

All four were interviewed by their commanding officer, but only three were interviewed by the USAF. One of them was reported to have gone on a three-day pass. There is no reason, given the circumstances, that he couldn't have been interviewed. I'm attempting to learn if he was actually on pass or in the hospital as reported at the time.

To me, the sightings don't seem overly significant other than the location and time... but if one of the soldiers was injured, that changes the story. I'm trying to verify that.